Security check points monitor and control the movement of people and objects to prevent violence and counter terrorism. These checkpoints can be found in all airports. Unfortunately, this added security step results in long lines, an inconvenience, and a lot of frustration.
The essential thing to remember is that these check points weren’t placed there just to irritate us. They are there for our safety and to protect us. Life now reverberates the ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude.
While there is no way around security checkpoints, there are some things you can do ahead of time to make the process a little quicker and less painful. The key is to plan and prepare beforehand. This can have a significant impact on your travel experience and how efficiently it is executed.
Prepare For Security When Packing Checked Bags
Before arriving at the airport, know which items aren’t permitted in what bags. Be sure to pack large amounts of aerosol, creams, liquids, and gels into your checked bag. This would include items such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, hair spray, shaving cream, and suntan lotion.
Prepare For Security When Packing Carry-on Bag
The same tip applies to carry-on bags as it does for checked bags when planning ahead when packing. However, there are different rules for carry-ons. Pastes, gels, liquids, creams, and aerosols must be 3.4 oz. or less to be allowed in carry-on bags. This includes all toiletries, including liquid make-up and suntan lotion.
Also, all bottles must fit into a quart-size plastic bag. At the airport, this bag will be placed in a bin for screening. Check the TSA website for more information on what can and can’t be packed in specific bags.
Be sure to place laptops and other electronics larger than a cell phone in an easily accessible area in your carry-on bag, such as an outside pocket. These will have to be placed in a bin and checked individually as it passes through a scanner.
Purchase and Pack Liquids in a TSA Approved Toiletry Bag
The TSA Approved Toiletry Bag has a clear design so TSA agents can easily see what’s inside, and since it is approved, they will automatically know that it is under the size of a quart. For easy access, store this toiletry bag in the outside pocket of your carry-on so you can quickly locate it and place it in the bin without holding up the line.
Plan Your Airport Outfit
Don’t wear too many layers because most layers will have to be removed before passing through the scanner. Loose-fitting or baggy clothing should not be worn because that might trigger a pat-down to ensure no prohibited items are hiding in your oversized clothes.
Avoid wearing anything metal, such as metal underwire in bras. Also, avoid accessorizing with metal such as jewelry, watches, metal belt buckles, and body piercings. These items will set off the alarm in the metal detector, which is the last thing you want to do.
One of the most dreaded acts when passing through security is having to remove your shoes. To simplify this process, wear shoes that easily slip on and off. Bring socks if you don’t want your bare feet touching the airport floor.
Arrive Early at the Airport
Arrive at the airport two to three hours early to try to avoid the long lines at security or to have plenty of time to navigate the long lines. It’s usually recommended to arrive at the airport two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights.
Finish Any Drinks Before Arriving at the Checkpoint
Finish any drinks you may be sipping on and throw away the container before arriving at the checkpoint. After passing through security, you can purchase drinks at duty-free shops or fill your empty water bottle before boarding the plane.
Empty all of your pockets while standing in line at the checkpoint. This includes keys, cash, wallet, and glasses. If you’re wearing a hat, place everything in the cap so that you can immediately set the hat in the bin upon approaching the scanner. If you don’t have a hat, a coat or sweater pocket will work too.
Passing through airport security can be beyond frustrating at times. Planning and preparing ahead of time is the only solution to making this experience less painful for you and those who are behind you in line.